For Immediate Release - August 08, 2014

Labor Secretary Shadows Students in New Springfield High-Tech Training Program

State YouthWorks grant helps fund inaugural class at Tech Foundry

(SPRINGFIELD –Friday, August 8, 2014) – Labor and Workforce Development Secretary Rachel Kaprielian today sat in on the first class of students at a new workforce development program that will recruit, train and place urban high school students, unemployed college graduates and veterans in jobs within the high tech industry in the Pioneer Valley. 

The Tech Foundry is just one of a number of Massachusetts employers participating in the Commonwealth’s YouthWorks program which subsidized jobs and training for more than 4,800 at risk teens and young adults in 31 communities this summer.

Labor Secretary Shadows Students

“This is the kind of innovative use of YouthWorks funding that the Patrick Administration would like to see replicated across the state,” said Secretary Kaprielian. “The Tech Foundry partnered with the Hampden Regional Employment Board and New England Farm Worker’s Council, which operates the YouthWorks program in Springfield to introduce these students to in-demand careers and fill the shortage of computer science professionals in Western Massachusetts.”

“We believe our approach to ‘badge’ based learning combined with a curriculum that is 100% driven by regional employers is a unique model that is not only going to someday make Springfield a large employer of IT talent in the country but also serve as a model for other industries,’ said Delcie Bean, President of Tech Foundry. “We are incredibly grateful to have such a great relationship with the REB and Farm Worker’s Council.

Secretary Kaprielian shadowed 17 year old Arian Richardson, one of 22 students in the inaugural class who is taking classes and earning badges in hard and soft skills to set them up for entry levels jobs in the tech industry. The high school students are learning how to dress professionally and interview as well as basic computer science like scripting and network management.  In between classes, the students intern at local tech firms.

“I know that successful business leaders have to know much more about technology than ever before to be competitive in their industry,” said Richardson. “I want to learn technology so that I can be a better leader down the road.”

"Tech Foundry represents an innovative opportunity for students to experience a summer of work and learning that exposes them to educational and career pathways in a high demand industry”, said David Cruise, Executive Director of the Hampden Regional Employment Board. “The REB is excited about this partnership with Tech Foundry and looks forward to expanding its partnership going forward."

"Throughout the Commonwealth, those with information technology skills are in high demand. There is such a shortage that some employers have setup IT training programs of their own to meet their needs. Thanks to Tech Foundry's YouthWorks program, high school students here in Springfield are learning critical computer science and IT skills which will lead to good jobs after graduation," said Senator Gale D. Candaras, who represents a portion of the City of Springfield. "These are exactly the sort of highly targeted workforce development programs that will help students, recent graduates, the unemployed, and the underemployed acquire the skills they need to find jobs in the growing high tech and manufacturing industries throughout Western Massachusetts and the entire Commonwealth." 

Creating job opportunities for young people has been a priority of the Patrick Administration.  Since Governor Patrick took office, the YouthWorks program has grown from $4.7 million in 2007 for summer and year-round jobs programs to $10 million this year. 

"As a result of YouthWorks funding, we have placed 4,845 teens and young adults in summer job placements, surpassing our initial target," said Anne Berrigan, Senior Program Manager, Youth Employment Initiatives at Commonwealth Corporation. "We're excited that the Tech Foundry program provides teens with industry-specific training in technology, which is a high demand field. It is a model example of YouthWorks partnerships between local businesses and workforce development."

The Commonwealth Corporation administers the YouthWork funds under the direction of the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development to local workforce investment boards.